Spam Whackers

Exposing Various Types of Spam – Offering SEO & Webmaster Tips

August 21, 2008

Tucson SEO Solutions

Filed under: Links,SEO General — Connie @ 7:41 am

A couple of days ago Doug Heil (aka ihelpyou) started this thread Teaching How To Spam Forums. The thread was about a blog article posted on the Tucson SEO Solutions blog. Doug had come across this post which was basically a large list of links that they called a Do Follow Forum list.

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April 16, 2008

thesahalie.com Spam Link Exchange Request

Filed under: E-Mail Spam,Links — Connie @ 7:02 pm

On April 8 I received this email.

To: cs@mywebsiteremoved.com
Subject: Your link has been added to our site!

Dear Webmaster,

We’re delighted to inform you that your resource has been added to our site! Your resource details are as follows:

TITLE: Kitchen Storage & Organization

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June 28, 2007

Hidden Links

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 3:18 pm

There is a discussion at at IHY Forums in this thread “Jason Calacanis – He Hates SEO’s” that really revolves around a new Search Engine (Malaho) that Jason recently launched. A lot of the discussion is in regard to a certain type of hidden link that Malaho is using.

In particular the subject of hidden links has come up, as well as some other problems with new SE.

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May 25, 2007

Follow up on LinksMaster.com

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 1:05 pm

I can certainly understand why anyone with a relationship to LinkMasters.com would be concerned about the Article I wrote a few months ago about LinksMasters.

Especially when you consider Google’s Search Results for linksmaster.

You all might have been better off not to have commented in that Article. The last time I had looked Spam Whackers was number 2 for linksmaster. Now Spam Whackers is number 2 & 3.

I achieved those rankings without doing one link exchange or using any automated link exchange program. (more…)

April 28, 2007

Exposing your Links

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 2:31 am

I’m writing this in response to a post that Adam (aka SEFL) made in regard to Full Link Disclosure.

Adam makes some suggestions that are in reference to this post by Matt Cutts about reporting paid links. (more…)

April 25, 2007

Reporting Paid Links

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 6:50 pm

The History of Reporting Paid Links

A couple of weeks ago Matt Cutts stirred up a hornets nest when he asked people to report paid links. That was the last of 3 post made on the same day in reference to paid links. The first article, Hidden links, said as much if not more about paid links, than it did about hidden links. The second article By The Way was a quick follow up to the first.

The controversy about Reporting Paid Links

Personally I could care less about this new policy in spite of my rants here and I IHY forums.

DanO made a very good post in the IHY thread in regard to the reasons he thinks Google wants and needs paid link report.

Since I don’t buy, sell, or trade links This is not a big issue with me. I would like to see all links that are bout and sold for SE value discounted.

Maybe I’m remembering things incorrectly but it seems to me that bot Matt and Vanessa (of Webmaster Central) have stated several time over the last year that Google could find and discount paid links. Apparently they are not doing to good of a job if Matt wants people to report paid links.

Some Questions I have about Paid Links

Is Google going to discount a link in Yahoo’s directory? Matt says that is a paid review. I could agree if the exorbitant fee of $299.00 was a one time fee. It is an annual fee. Based on my traffic from DMOZ, the Google directory, and a few others, I don’t see how I could ever recap an investment of $299.00 per year based on traffic from the Yahoo directory.

I really don’t see how you can call a Yahoo directory listing anything more than a paid link. It seems to me that the only ROI anyone would ever get from a Yahoo directory listing, was if that link helped them in the SERPs. Sounds like a paid link to me.

If Matt is really serious about this why not go after the know text link brokers, who sell links for PR and ranking purposes? Ban them. Don’t sell them any more adds with AdSense.

Personally I think that would stop a lot of the PR mania, and get rid of a lot of the problems that Google has in regard to paid links.

Are Google Cooperate Officers Involved In link Selling?

Today Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped fame posted this article about AssociatedContent.com. It would appear that AssociatedContent.com is selling links and that a Google VP (Tim Armstrong) Google’s Vice President of Advertising Sales is involved with the Company.

All I can say is read the article and draw your own conclusions.

Two Points of View on the Reporting of Paid Links

In spite of my personal rantings here I think the best post I have seen regarding this (possibly the most objective) was made my DigitalGhost In Links We Trust – How Google Reshaped The Web. DG goes back to the beginning days of Google, and traces their history up through today in regard to the link issue.

If for no other reason his post is a great read in regard to the history of Google.

Then Adam (SEFL) posted about SERP2+Phobia. The article is 3 pages long but an interesting read. One I think is well worth your time. The article really drives home the point that too many webmasters are still obsessed with what they see in the green bar. At least thats my take.

Adam responded to a comment on the article with this about SERP2+Phobia.

I figure if I can get one person to stop PageRank-obsessing, it’s worth it. That’s how grassroots stuff gets started.

April 14, 2007

Matt Cutts on Hidden and Paid Links

Filed under: Links,SEO General — Connie @ 4:46 pm

According to this new post (Hidden Links) on Matt’s blog, it appears that the Google spam team is going to take an even closer looks at links.

Mat Give an example of a cleverly disguised hidden link.

He also gives some advice in the article about selling links.

As long as we’re talking about links, this seems like a pretty good opportunity to talk about a simple litmus test for paid links and how to tell if a paid link violates search engines’ quality guidelines.

It would seem that a major criteria for selling links is to insure that the person seeing the link knows that it is a paid add, or the link has a rel=”nofollow” attribute included.

Being the dummie that I am, If a discloser is a legal requirement of a paid link, or advertisement, I do not understand, how adding the rel=”nowfollow” attribute will suddenly make the link OK in Google’s eyes.

Another question that comes to my simple Hillbilly mind. How does all this affect the person buying the link? I have never bought a link (other than a few PPC links). I see nothing wrong with buying a link, if you think the link will produce a ROI.

As a potential purchaser of an advertising link, I would not care if it had the rel=”nofollow”, or if it was marked as an advertising link.

My question is? I buy a link for advertising, traffic, and hopefully a return on investment. Will I as the purchaser of the link be panelized because the seller did not comply with Google’s new guidelines for selling links?

I completely understand that Google wants to deal with companies that sell links for PR purposes, or some perceived SE advantage.

Frankly I think you know who most of them are. If you don’t, I can provide you with a few link brokers.

A few other question come to mind. What about a paid review? I pay for a review. If I pass the review I get a directory listing, or a link on a website. The site I paid for the review has not sold a link, and I have not paid for a link. Yahoo directory comes to mind, since I think Google recommends a listing in the Yahoo directory.

March 4, 2007

The Value of Links

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 4:13 pm

Michael Martinez posted a short article on Spider-Food forums titled “Measuring the value that links pass“.

Each search engine determines for itself what value a link will pass within its database. But Webmasters have long recognized that links pass value beyond that recognized by the search engines. Generally speaking, any link is potentially capable of passing one or more of the following values:

* Traffic
* Visibility
* Crawling
* Anchor Text
* PageRank
* Trust

Over the last several weeks Michael has written a lot of articles on his SEO Theory Blog, that include a lot of good information in regard to links. A lot of what he has written is theory. Then that’s the purpose of the blog. Read through his articles over the last couple of weeks, and he will give you a lot to think about.

February 6, 2007

Finding Backlinks at Google

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 11:33 am

Yesterday the Webmaster Central Blog, announced a new feature that has been added to the webmaster console. You can now check both external links to your site, as well as internal links.

Although Google is still not showing all backlinks, they are showing a lot more than if you check using the link operator.

One of the really nice features of the new tool, is that you can download the information. In regard to external links they are showing not only who links to you, but which page they a linking to, as well as the last crawl date of that link.

I got a 404 error page when trying to check internal links. Since this is a new feature I’m not surprised that there may be some bugs to work out.

January 3, 2007

Keeping Your White Hat Clean: How Often to Check Your Outbound Links

Filed under: Articles by Irony,Links,Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 4:08 am
The date of the first publication: March 15, 2006

Nowadays, having a website is becoming a tremendous responsibility. If you own a website, you need to do at least the following things, and do them on a regular basis:

  • Make sure your domain name doesn’t expire;
  • Comply with the latest quality standards in terms of graphic design, copywriting, usability;
  • Keep your coding at least moderately tidy;
  • Add fresh content from time to time, and apply necessary changes to your existing content as it gets obsolete;
  • Constantly watch legal issues ensuring your website doesn’t break any laws;
  • Study your web statistics carefully and improve your users’ experiences to make sure it converts better and better;
  • Track your ROI;
  • Check if anybody is stealing your web copy or other copyrighted materials and take legal action against those who do.

That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But now I’ve got some bad news for you: you’ve got yet another duty in regard to your website, which is to keep it clean in terms of SEO (unless you are a black hat SEO and don’t care about such things).

Let’s assume you are a whitehat and would like to live in peace with the engines. You never think about spamming them, always check other sites for being as whitehat as yours before linking to them, and rest assured that you are doing everything you can to keep your white SEO’s hat spotless. That’s where you are wrong!

We are living in the year 2006!

Yes, we are living with today’s Internet and we have to take its realities into account. Today, you do need to go through all of your outbound links regularly (I’d suggest at least every three months, though it may vary depending on your niche) and check all those websites again and again. Believe me; you will be amazed, astounded and sometimes shocked to see how many of them will have been banned since the last check-up and how many of those not banned yet will just allow themselves to get obviously dirty. A few will disappear completely and return 404s; others will change the owner and the theme, or turn into one of the “created-for-AdSense-only” pseudo-sites, which are swiftly becoming yet another dominating type of Internet garbage. The total number of websites you will have to de-link will probably reach 50% of your outbound links if you are in a spammy niche. (And if you used to exchange links with anyone who sent you an automated link exchange request, be prepared to remove 99.9%.)

That’s a lot of work. In one of my previous articles I described in much detail the common procedure of checking sites for the most obvious of spammy techniques. It is a complicated procedure that requires time and effort. If you list something like 300 websites on your resource pages, the clean-up might take a week or more. But it has to be done.

Reciprocal links revised once more

The astonishing amounts of spam filling today’s Internet give us yet another good reason not to use reciprocal linking as our main link building strategy. I still believe that there is nothing wrong with two-way links as such; it’s mostly the side-effects that cause the problems.

The more links you exchange with other site owners, the more potentially bad neighbourhoods you expose yourself to. Link exchange spammers have become very good at making their automated emails apparently personalised; sooner or later you will fall for it and mistake their spam for the real thing; then you will simply forget about it. Next time you revisit your links, be sure to find a bad neighbourhood there, with everything that goes with it, like a mild and barely noticeable but still real ranking penalty, especially if you made this same mistake several times.

The engines are now capable of keeping your whole linking history in their databases, and according to some experts, that’s exactly what they do. I don’t believe that they do it for the pleasure of having a larger database; their only purpose can be to analyse that data and use it when calculating the overall authority of each and every website they know about. I also believe that every spammy neighbourhood the site ever linked to is counted against the site’s overall authority, and the longer it stays on the site the more damage it is likely to cause. Even if the engines haven’t yet become smart enough to really implement these new factors into their algorithms, they will soon.

And of course, if the number of bad neighbourhoods you link to is exceeding reasonable limits, the penalty will be very real and very noticeable.

Directories

If you own a general or a niche-specific directory, then the overall number of your outbound links is much higher than it would be if you owned an ordinary website. But directories, just like all other sites, are watched for bad neighbourhoods. It is probably one of the factors that explains why so many directories got banned from Google during recent months (though, of course, not the only one).

If you list a few thousand sites, the task of revisiting each and every one of them every few months is a tough one, even if you’ve got a team of dedicated editors willing to help you. If you are just considering launching a directory, you do need to take this into account; ask yourself twice if you really want to accept such a burden.

The conclusion

Whether we like it or not, the Net has become very full of spammy sites. In spite of all the attempts at cleaning it up, they won’t disappear in the near future. We do need to stay away from such sites, and not just for fear of being penalised for linking to them, but also because it’s no good to give them any sort of credibility. That’s another reason to check all your outbound links on a regular basis, unless you know the people behind those sites really very well and trust them as much as you do yourself.

Keeping your White Hat clean amid all the filth is a tough task, but it is well worth the effort.

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